You couldn’t walk more than a few yards without running into a police officer or two on the crowded streets of downtown Minneapolis Sunday, as local departments stepped up patrols in connection with events surrounding Tuesday’s All-Star Game at Target Field.
At the command center a few blocks away from the ballpark, Minneapolis police Cmdr. Scott Gerlicher and 30 or so high-ranking police officials were monitoring public safety cameras for suspicious activity. In addition to the usual 200-plus cameras, a host of portable cameras on trailers had been placed in and around downtown as the weekend Twins Fan Fest got underway.
Gerlicher said there hadn’t been any major incidents, just some ticket scalpers, folks trying to sell counterfeit merchandise and a few drunken partyers.
St. Paul police Sgt. Dan Day and Cmdr. Steve Frazer were among 10 to 15 St. Paul officers who did foot patrol Sunday in and around Target Field and the Warehouse District, acting to deter trouble, answer questions and, basically, be good will ambassadors for the city.
“How ya doing?” and “You havin’ fun?” both said repeatedly, engaging with adults and children alike.
They stopped for a moment to talk to members of the Jayhawks, North Metro Little League champions from St. Anthony. The boys excitedly shared news of their victory with the two officers and appeared to be as impressed to be talking to real-live policemen as they were to be downtown.
“What’s your favorite part of baseball,” Frazer asked one boy.
“Hitting,” the boy replied.
“You have a good time, Adam,” Frazer said in farewell. “See ya, bud.”
By 6 p.m., Day and Frazer said they’d probably walked 7 or 8 miles, and both had another four hours to go on their shifts.
Police spokesman John Elder said that, in addition to Minneapolis and St. Paul police, the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, FBI, state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, Secret Service, State Patrol, Homeland Security and others are helping out.
“A lot of it’s customer service stuff, being visible, being present, being ambassadors,” Elder said.
Frazer and Day didn’t mind one bit.
“The energy of the crowds has been really positive,” Frazer said. “We don’t always get this on our job.”